Joyfully taken by Him
Today was a very heavy, yet beautiful day as we were given the opportunity to walk through the passion week of Christ. Starting at the Mt. of Olives we learned of the fear Christ had at the beginning. It wasn’t death or pain he was afraid of but the full wrath of God. The wrath for every sin that ever has been and ever will be committed. The entirety of the wrath deserved by us but instead was graciously and joyfully taken by Him so that we might instead have his righteousness.
Mount of Olives
Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.
From the Mt. of Olives we walked to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was arrested. The arrest was conspired by the pharisees and took place on Passover at midnight, while everyone was inside with their families celebrating the holiday. We often think this took place in the middle of the day in a massive crowd, but it was done this way in secret so as to avoid a riot. In order to keep the ball rolling on the arrest and crucifixion of Christ, the pharisees had to move fast. From the time of the arrest at midnight through all the trials, Christ was on the cross at 9am, while everyone was still inside, resting to celebrate Passover.
Gethsemane (Greek: Γεθσημανή, Gethsemane; Hebrew: גת שמנים, Gat Shmanim; Gaḏ Šmānê, lit. "oil press") is a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, most famous as the place where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion.
Continuing on our path through the passion week we stopped at a church called St. Anne’s where we sang the doxology together. Worshipping in harmony gave us the gift of reflection on a beautiful community as we got to see how much we have grown not only as singers but as men and women in Christ. I could not ask for a more incredible group of men and women to do life with. Every one of my brothers and sisters has helped me to see where I fall short, graciously pointing me back to God, and teaching me not only how to be loved by those around me but also how to love myself.
From St. Anne’s we continued our walk through the passion week, walking the same path Christ walked to the crucifixion. Our walk and our tour in Israel came to an end at the southern steps but while it was the end it also serves as an opportunity for faith. I now must ask myself, what is it that God has been teaching me here and what do I want to remember? Here in the Holy land God has been teaching me more and more each day of how His good news has been intimately intertwined with every part of my life and how important it is to remember that because of what Christ has done the presence of God no longer resides in a temple but in you and me, and that I can never take that gift for granted.
I want to close by extending the same questions to you. What has God been teaching you lately? What do you want to remember?
Written by Ian Hall
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